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Flyers-Canadiens Game 3: Postgame

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mar-ty, Mar-ty, Mar-ty.

I remember joining those cheers the first time they arose from the Wachovia Center crowd.  It was a game between the Flyers and the Islanders.  The Orange and Black, leading 4-0, were riding a wave of beautiful saves from Martin Biron.  He didn’t quite capture the shutout – the Islanders popped one through late in the third – but the assembled fans noticed and appreciated the outstanding effort Biron gave.

I trace Biron’s current hot streak to that game.  That game marked the third win in the final stretch where Philadelphia went 8-1-1.  And the flames have only burned brighter since that time.  The Orange Crush chanted Marty’s name after every big save, from the first period poke check to the second period glove saves to the last minute third period stops.  The goaltender every had written off is the story of this playoff series.

– I mentioned Jeff Carter as a key player in the pregame blog.  Carter’s line put in two of the three goals, and the young center had 2 hits and went 55% in the faceoff circle.  The lone detractor: with less than a minute remaining in the league and the Canadiens with an empty net, Carter found the puck in the high slot of his own zone.  Instead of clearing the puck, he passes it backwards and puts it on the tape of a Canadiens stick.  It didn’t hurt the team, but it came dangerously close.

Mike Richards was another name dropped.  He had a monster game, capped off by a short-handed goal.  A plus-2 rating, 3 shots on goal, and a 57% faceoff win percentage.  And he even found time for a few extra curriculars.  It was a classic Richards performance – the type that wins games for the Flyers.

Team defense.  Jason Smith showed why he wears the “C” – four hits tonight and several uncredited.  Randy Jones blocked 7 shots.  Kimmo Timonen blocked 5 shots, had 2 hits, and put up a plus-2 rating.  His defense partner Braydon Coburn was also a plus-2.  Even Derian Hatcher was a plus-1, despite the roughing major and game misconduct that cost his team dearly (both Montreal goals came on the ensuing 5 minute power play).  Lasse Kukkonen, however, had a bad night: 2 bad penalties and only one blocked shot.

There is still plenty of room for improvement from the Flyers squad.  It will be a battle to maintain home ice advantage on Wednesday night.

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